The time is now.
After a grueling schedule, the UCSB softball team (30-28, 12-6) will wind up its season against Cal State Fullerton (17-32, 6-12) at Campus Diamond this weekend. The bottom line is that the Gauchos need a stellar performance weekend in every game of the series to secure a bid at the NCAA softball regionals.
Santa Barbara currently sits in third place in the Big West Conference, with Long Beach and Cal State Northridge fighting for the top spot this weekend. Depending on how both series play out, UCSB could receive anything from a #2 seed to a #4 seed. A sweep this weekend would be the best way for UCSB to show the selection committee that they deserve to play more games this year.
“We have been playing well the last part of the season going into the last games with the regional committee,” Head Coach Kristy Schroeder said. “They are taking a lot of teams this season, and if we do well this weekend we have a good chance. Our strength of schedule has been good all season, which is highly looked upon.”
Last weekend the Gauchos had a shot on turning their season around with a sweep of first place Long Beach State, but things did not go as planned. The team won one of three games last weekend, which dropped them to second place. The team feels that they still played well and that its losses could have just as easily been wins.
“We didn’t score runs and Long Beach is a good team sitting at #19 in the nation,” Schroeder said. “Game one was really close but we just slipped at the end. In the second game, [freshman] Jen Davis pitched an excellent game and barely snuck in a run.”
“We had many people hit the ball but just didn’t seem to have runners in scoring position. Both games could have gone either way. The last game everything came together and Davis was on command. The first two games we could have hit the ball better. I felt that we were more selective at the plate in the last game, which usually is the key to success,” Schroeder said.
The team has been relying on pitching, winning games with composure on the mound. Davis has been flat out on fire lately. She has won three of her last four games and accounts for a 14-14 record on the season with a 2.52 ERA. Also, junior Lindsey Herrin has been posting solid outings as of late, with a 7-2 record and a 2.54 ERA.
“These last games are huge,” Schroeder said. “If we can do well against Fullerton this weekend we have a chance to go to regionals. If we don’t do well, then we probably won’t go. Everyone wants to go out on a winning note, so our team will be up for the game. Everybody is looking forward to this weekend.”